A return interview with Robert McGuigan. McGuigan spoke of the involvement with gambling which led to the murder of his 28-year-old son and the deaths of three other young men. (See previous interview on 6/14/10). He talked about the way gambling within the family teaches and encourages young people to gamble. He is particularly concerned because young people, 12-18 years old, are 2-3 more likely to become addicted to gambling than adults are. In McGuigan’s home state of Wisconsin, about 350,000 adults are addicted to gambling; so up to 700,000-1,000,000 young people may already be addicts.
When he attended the American Gaming Association’s world conference in Las Vegas last fall, McGuigan was dismayed by some of the new technology, particularly an entire room of gambling games designed for 4th-8th graders. All these games have counterparts on the internet. He recently spoke with friends and learned that their 8-year-old daughter has already been playing Texas hold ‘em at a children’s site on the internet. Not for money, she assured her horrified parents, just for chips. But she is already learning to gamble.
A caller spoke of her concern about various forms of legalized gambling used commonly for fundraising by churches and other community organizations: raffles, lotteries, etc. She feels it’s important for us to re-invest ourselves in other ways (such as tithing) to support our churches and our community.
McGuigan has long opposed the federal bill HR 2267 (The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act), which was recently defeated in Congress because it provided no protection, no means of preventing kids and gambling addicts from using these sites. There simply is no effective way to control or regulate the use of such sites. But now many states are seeking to institute internet gambling themselves, to help balance their state budgets through tax revenues. McGuigan urges members of the public to put pressure on both their state and federal representatives to oppose these measures. We don’t want to do any more damage to ourselves and our kids, for generations to come, by opening the floodgates to unchecked, unbridled access to internet gambling.